For all of its clear benefits and amazing advances, 21st century life is undeniably complex.

No one knows this better than corporate executives who rely on a chain of suppliers to deliver the goods and services they need to meet customer demand. The journey from source to destination contains risks and uncertainties, perhaps more today than ever before.

Changes on nearly every front have dramatically altered supply chain dynamics, adding many potential points of failure. Today, companies source supplies and produce goods throughout the world. Customer expectations continue to rise, and their satisfaction in large part hinges on the supply chain's reliability. Information and communications technology continue to push the envelope. Commodity prices are highly volatile. The only constant for many it seems is change.

Consequently, today's supply chain is an interconnected network or web of two-way relationships—with operational risks in every link. Risks in any one link affect the rest of the chain and its connection points.

To understand and manage the risks in this new interconnected supply chain, companies need one thing above all: a holistic view of risk across the enterprise.

Without that overview of risks, the consequences can be costly. They range from mild customer inconvenience to a disaster that can damage the business and even bring it to a halt, jeopardizing its continuity.